Council accused of misleading public over toilet closure

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Sheffield Council has been accused of making misleading claims about recent investment in public toilets which have been closed.

The council approved closure of all lavatories managed by the highways department from April.

Ben Corbey, a sales engineer, from Nether Edge, challenged the council to confirm how much money was actually being saved.

He accused the council of wasting money by shutting recently-refurbished facilities such as those at Rivelin Valley and at Fox House.

Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for finance, replied that £225,000 would be saved in 2013-14.

He added: “The toilet at Rivelin Valley was replaced five years ago and the block at Fox House has had no significant expenditure since 2006.”

But Mr Corbey said: “The comment made by Bryan Lodge about the Fox House facilities is not entirely true.

“An official council statement clearly states that solar panels were installed at Fox House toilets in 2008.

“The cost of such panels, equipment and fitting must have been £5,000 to £10,000.”

Mr Corbey said the Rivelin and Fox House loos should be ‘re-opened for the summer months when many bikers, hikers and tourists are heading to the Peak District’.

Coun Lodge said: “Unfortunately, closure of some toilets was among the package of savings we had to make.”

He said that when investment was made in the toilets, the council did not know it would face huge cuts in subsequent years.